Sunday, 11 June 2017

Interview with my son about reading

Today I am sharing an interview I did with my oldest son TJ.  He was telling us all about his thoughts on reading, so I asked he would mind sharing that with you all.

So TJ the other night you were talking about reading with Daddy and I was just wondering, what did you used to think about reading?

I personally love reading because I can read at a lot of different places and times. I can read in the car and at bed time.  A couple of days ago I even read to myself in the doctor’s office.  When I first was being taught to read I thought there was probably not much point to this, I thought they are only trying to teach me.  But now I really like it, because I can read in most places and most times.  It is fun! And I also love reading to my two younger brothers.

Like I said when I first stared reading I thought people had to read because they need to read and understand things.  It was just something grown-up did. But now I understand why, because I’m actually reading quite a few books and it is really fun. I can figure things out by myself without having to ask an adult all the time.

What I’d like to know is how do you feel you learned to read?

Well I actually sort of taught myself.  With Mommy and Daddy’s help they kind of taught me the words and I remembered them.  Over time I’ve become a better reader. It actually wasn’t that hard.  Also I find I’ve been reading quite quickly.  I remember a few years ago I was reading books that only had one sentence per page, and now I’m reading books that have chapters in them.  So I find that it isn’t that hard once you learn to read.

What advice do you have for parents that might have a kid that hasn’t quite learned to read, or gets frustrated when they are trying to read.  What would you tell parents?

Well you see if they are having problems, or don’t like to read, or they feel like they are being pushed hard, I started off with these really easy books called “Biscuit” books, that only have one or two sentences per page.  I tried to read them and Mommy and Daddy showed me the words (told him what they said or helped him sound out the words) and I kind of caught on and have been memorizing the word and what they mean.  Like one time I was reading a book that had the word ALL in it.  I said “Mommy what is this word?” And she told me.  So the next time I saw that word I said, “Hey doesn’t that spell ALL?”, because I remembered what I had learned.  So that is kind of my way of looking at things.

How to help start encouraging reading is in a small way, like not too dramatic. I saw a word and memorized it! I started small and now I’m reading books with chapters in them. Actually a few different books and now that I know the words it is really fun.  They are also books about things that I am interested in.

So basically TJ you’re telling us to relax, let a kids start reading when they are interested, and just help them along and they will catch up.  We don’t need to worry but know that they will catch on in their own time?

Yes I agree totally to that.

What advice would you have for a kid, maybe your brother or one of your friends, who wants to start reading? What would be your encouragement or suggestions for them?

If I had some advice I would say that mommy and daddy were teaching me words so the next time I saw the word in the book I remembered that I had just seen that word.  So over time I got practicing words they taught me. I just started memorizing the words and now I can read! It’s really not that hard to read once you know some of the words then you can start to read books.

My next question is the way you learned to read, naturally on your own and just asking for help when you need it, have you taken this and used it to learn other subjects like math, or writing or other topics you are interested in?

Well I’ve actually taken the very same way that I learned to read into my writing.  I’ve been memorizing words, not as many as with my reading since the words are already written out, but I know lots of words.  They aren’t long words, but I could fill a whole page of a notebook with all the words I know how to write. I found that it was quite the same as with reading (he asks us how to write a word when he needs help).

Any final thoughts?

Well like I said before, I like that I can read now in many different places.  It’s fun on long car rides when I’ve played all my games and stuff.  Also I enjoy reading different stuff, I’ve read fiction, non-fiction, I’m also good at reading my bible.  I’m excited that I figured out how to read!

We'd love to hear from you.  Come join us on on our FaceBook page for more fun

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Mom leads the way

Today my heart is full and my smile is big.  I love my boys and my husband (it is his birthday today too!!).  My family is so wonderful!


This week I have reflected a bit about my role.  I'm not going to get too deep and thoughtful here, but one thing I wanted to write about today was how much I lead the way.  For example I know that my young boys always want to be around me (always, even in the bathroom).  So I can't expect them to want to spend hours outside if I'm not out there too. They aren't going to do a lot of art if I am not right in there with them or starting the activity first.

Of course they do on occasion, and for short times initiate their own activities.  But if there is something I'd like to introduce, or feel is lacking, then I need to take that initiative.

This week I noticed that we haven't been in the forest very much.  I used to love playing and building first with the kids.  So I took my notebook and headed across the laneway into the forest.  Of course they all followed! I didn't say much or tell them what to do.  I just sat on a log and observed, wrote and smiled.  This is what I wrote:

Into the Forest by Meaghan Jackson

Come into the forest, come and play.
Connecting with nature in a natural way.
Nothing is forced, there are no expectations.
Just come as you are and see where it leads.

Climbing up trees, looking at flowers,
enjoying the silence, for hours and hours.

We don't need gadgets or gizmos of toys;
Just go outside and let nature lead the way.

Share your thoughts with me... How are you leading the way?

Also follow our journey on FACEBOOK

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

UPDATE for Read What You've Got

How is everyone doing with their reading challenge??

I haven't posted for a while and I wanted to let you know how we are doing.  For a while there we were making great progress.  My boys loved to grab a big pile of books to read through.  Then we got into some larger novels and that slowed us down a bit.  The books were fabulous though.

Then we visited the library... well we've been reading all sorts of new books and the boys now love our poerty tea time!  But we haven't been reading as much from home.  Of course the trip to Value Village brought a whole bag of new books into the house too.  So I'm having to make more space for that.

I also decided to move the books to another room so that we'd be more inclined to read them.  Needless to say with the boys "helping" our nice way of tracking the books we've read got all messed up.

  • So basically we are definitely reading more
  • We did read about one third of our books since we started.
  • My boys are both now reading them selves a lot more
  • We've learned a lot and become interested in new genres
  • I'd say a big success!!
  • We'll keep plugging away and cheering you all on too.

Happy reading everyone!

Monday, 3 April 2017

A language rich unschooling home

Okay I'll just come right out and say it.  Language Arts (reading, writing and all that) was not my best or favourite subject in school. In fact I was/am a terrible speller.  I was a struggling reader and never wrote anything worth reading.  I never could pull deep meaning from a novel and honestly didn't see the point.  So now I homeschool my boys and I want them to love literature.  But how?

Reading buddies

Our family is an unschooling family.  This means that my boys learn about what they are interested in.  We do not follow any curriculum (although we have used curricula and workbooks to help us when we wanted). Learning flows naturally around here and we do not separate life from 'school'.  We are learning and living all the time.

My two older boys learned to read rather naturally.  We have lots of books in the house, read to them all the time, visit the library and I even try to read my own books in front of them. So they have figured it out along the way and asked for help when they wanted to push themselves further.

Little JJ trying to read and pointing to words

I figured writing was going slower because my boys didn't really choose to write often.  But I've starting to look at things differently now...

If you've never heard of Brave Writer I strongly suggest that you take a peak.  (No affiliate links or anything. I'm just sharing something that worked well for us out recently).  I have not bought anything yet but have read over the free lesson plans available.  I have also listened to many podcasts and read a lot of the Bravewriter Lifestyle blog posts.

TJ 'super hero' concentrating on drawing

Suddenly I felt as though a weight had been lifted.  I was now well equipped with fun activities and strategies I could do for myself and with the kids.  We could love reading and writing and poetry together!  It also fit perfectly with our unschooling lifestyle.

Whenever I get a great idea of an activity or topic I think my boys might be interested in I simply offer it.  They may join in or not, but it can't hurt to introduce/offer.  I often will talk to the boys too about why I feel a particular activity might benefit them too.

So we started with Poetry Tea Time.  We've done this a few times randomly.  I'm hoping to make it a weekly event now.  Last week I made a big pot of hot chocolate and served it in fancy tea cups with cookies.  I borrowed a variety of poetry books from the library (since we have maybe one book) and let the boys choose what I'd read.  They honestly wouldn't let me stop!  I read through two full poetry books.  On Pie Day (March 14) we read Math Curse and Science Verse.  Oh and on the first day of spring I casually asked the boys what their favourite things about spring were.  Later during tea time I surprised them with a poem I write using what they had said. It's always fun to set up a fancy tea and read together.

MJ enjoying hot chocolate and poetry

In looking at all Brave Writer has to offer I felt so relieved knowing that I was already doing the right thing!  My boys are in the jot it down stage.  I often act as a scribe for them when they have a story bursting to come out.  Now I try to remember to intentionally ask them more often if they'd like me to write anything down. During our last poetry tea time, MJ asked me to write down a poem he had thought of.

TJ enjoying poetry tea time

We already read a lot of books with different variety.  I am thrilled that they enjoy it.  I love the interesting conversations we have as books and movies bring up new things to discuss.

Another idea I got from Brave Writer was Free Writes.  My boys are a little young to be able to come up with much, but it still was a cool experience for us all.  MJ drew a picture and told us about it.  TJ practiced writing the alphabet, while I write anything that came to mind.  I look forward to doing that more along with perhaps some copy work.  Even if the boys aren't into it, I'd like to do these things for myself!

MJ playing with letter tiles

Finally I wanted to share with you our new love for art too.  Okay so it isn't exactly literature based, but any who we just started doing it recently too.  I only chose Friday for fine arts Friday because the alliteration worked nicely.  I asked the boys first if they'd be interested in intentionally doing art and learning about artists like they'd done once at a museum.  TJ really liked it and MJ sort of went along.  We have done a few artists now. We also did nature drawings in our notebooks too after visiting the garden centre to welcome in spring.

Seeing how all these elements are coming together, in a natural way is fantastic.  My boys are suddenly interested and curious again.  We are doing more math games and science too.  I know the change came from me intentionally offering things to the boys rather that always waiting for them to ask me.  I am released from the stress of trying to fit everything in to our week.  We are not on a schedule.  The boys asked me to write all these activities

into the calendar just so we'd not forget, but if we are involved in something else, then we just go with that instead.

I feel right now that we are in a good place with our homeschooling.  That brings me peace.

I hope you'll join us on FB to see more of what we are up to!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Young Writers

So today I wanted to talk about writing just a little.  My boys are so creative and have wonderful imaginations.  At this stage in their lives their physical writing ability (spelling, grammar, penmanship) does not match what they want to get onto the paper.  So I often act as a scribe.  The boys tell me what to write and then carefully check over my work to make sure they are satisfied.  It is a wonderful experience for us both.

TJ has written two stories recently that he wanted to share with everyone.  He was a little nervous because his younger brother didn't have anything nice to say about the stories. Brothers don't always get along as you might know. I suggested that perhaps a different audience would appreciate his writing.

So here they are.  I'm so proud and can't wait to hear more of what my boys have to write.
PLEASE feel free to make some comments or suggestions below.

Ninjas to the Rescue

One day the Air Pirates and the Nexo Knights were both making plans to attack each other, though neither group knew this. The Nexo Knights finished their plan first because it was so simple. They made it simple so that the Pirates would still be planning while the Knights attacked.

The Knights attacked from all directions and at very high speed. The Air Pirates took a while to figure out what was going on. They were under attack by the Nexo Knights!

The Nexo Knights had a high advantage over the pirates because they started to attack first. But soon the Air Pirates were winning. So far the Nexo Knights weren't being beaten too hard, but the Air Pirates were still winning. The Pirates' plan was to force the Knights off the battlement of their plane onto the wing. It was just like walking the plank, only they called it walking the wing. The Nexo Knights soon figured this out and tried to do the same to the Pirates, but the Pirates already knew their plan and were ready.

The Nexo Knights needed help but no one else knew about their battle. They needed help quickly. Fortunately the Ninjas of Ninjago were flying overhead on their dragons. They swooped down. Some of them swooped down and jumped off their dragons to take care of the injured Knights. They took those Knights back home to take care of them. Others stayed on their dragons to knock the Air Pirates off their fighting planks.

The Ninja were at the rescue site. Most of the Nexo Knights survived. Only one died but most made it. The Ninja went home and the Knights took over their plane and flew home too.

And that is how the Nexo Knights and Ninja Became friends.

The End

The Competition

One day the Nexo Knights and the Ninjas wanted to have a competition. Jay suggested they have a competition to see who was the most powerful. So they decided that at different times they would separately attack an evil fortress. They would determine the winner by who defeated more bad guys in less time.

Since it was Jays idea, the Ninjas attacked first. A few weeks later the Nexo Knights attacked a different evil fortress. During both of their battles the groups needed help from the others to help them win. In the end they all leanred that the secret is team work.

The End

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Joy and Delight

Do you ever catch yourself in a moment and quickly think to yourself  "this moment in time is important.  Remember it."?

Maybe it was because I was more aware, or looking for those opportunities.  Perhaps God just knew I really needed to see glimpses of Him today.  I was blessed to share in some delightful moments with my boys today.

Early this morning we heard the recycling truck pulling into our lane way.  Little JJ gave me a look of surprise when he heard the noise.  He pointed to the window and I carried him over to see.  His whole face lit up as he pointed to the front yard, '"Tractor", he squeaks.  "Yes my darling you see the recycling truck," I reply.  JJ cranes his neck to watch the big truck pass up the laneway and back again.  He waves good bye and we go about our morning.  In my heart I swell with joy because I just got to share in my son's first time pointing out and calling to a truck. While many other children his age are being bustled off to daycare, I am so blessed to be allowed the true gift of being home with my children.

At breakfast time there are some left over treats from an event the night before.  JJ grabs a powdered donut off the counter and takes a bit.  His eyes light up, his little tongue sticks out. "Ohh!" he says jus before cramming the rest of it into his mouth. I realize that I have never shared in or savoured the moment when someone tastes a new food for the first time.  Of course I've fed my boys new foods as babies and such over the years, but today my mind took a video of that moment and it brought me joy.

This afternoon we were all in the yard playing.  MJ stands on the edge of a big puddle on the driveway.  He dips his toe in and I watch as the drops make beautiful circle patterns in the sunlight.  He dips his toe in again, and suddenly dashes off across the puddle, leaping in pure joy.  He is a child, playing out side just as he should be.  Thank you God for allowing me to be here in this moment.

No need to pull out the iphone for photos.  These delightful joy-filled moments are now forever in my heart in my memories.

No matter what your circumstances are, or what is going on in your life.  Please try to be present and aware, allowing these small little moments to surprise you.  Finding joy in the every day may just fill you and refresh you enough to keep going.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Our favourite Authors for young children

Not sure if anyone noticed or not but I haven't posted a new blog for a bit.  Our family was sick last weekend.  After that life got busy and I had little motivation to blog.  One thing about me is that I post blogs when I feel compelled to share something.  This blog is very personal. I don't make any money from it and I share what is relevant to our family. I won't make any excused for missing a week or anything like that.  I'm just a real mom doing my best!

I did however want to check in with everyone about the READ WHAT YOU"VE GOT CHALLENGE!!!

How are you doing? Any progress is to be commended.  My boys are loving this and we are reading about 18 books a week!!

There are so many amazing books on our shelves.  Sometimes it feels like getting together with an old friend when you pull out a familiar story.  There are a few authors that we seem to have quite a number of their books.  So my children must love them

Anything by Robert Munsch is a hit with my boys

Stan and Jan Bernstain have so many great topic they cover

We don't have all the books but we do have a whole lot and lots of audio one too!!

This week we read about 15 books.

This week's absolute Favourite was "The Book With No Pictures".  TJ excitedly read to his brother and MJ started to copy words from it in the night.

Please do share with us your favourite authors and be sure to join us on FB for more lively discussions.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Our Favourite Baby Books

As part of our "Read What You've Got" challenge, we are also reading through all the board books in the house. Our little toddler just loves to be read to, especially on the potty. We have a lot of board books so I didn't bother keeping track of them all.

Some of our favourite authors are:
Al Perkins
Dr. Seuss
Sandra Boynton
Karen Katz

All of these books our family favourites.  We have read them so often over the last few years that everyone in the family has them memorized.

Can I say that board books make excellent readers for children who are learning to read.  The words and sentences are simple enough for young readers.  Chances are that they have memorized the books too and that does help them know what is coming next.  My boys love reading to their little brother!!

MJ falls asleep reading often. Love it!

This week we also read more than 20 books
Among our favourites are:

The Penguins of Madagascar
The Bearnestain Bears
Ninjago comic
Little House in the Big Woods

Be sure to comment on how you are doing with the challenge and share with us your favourite baby books!!

Click Here for more on our "Read What You've Got" challenge

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Let the Challenge Begin!!!

I'm so excited!!! Let's Read What We've Got

I am so happy you have decided to make an attempt to read through all the books in your own home library.  I have nothing against the library.  In fact we purged a great deal of our own books so that we didn't have to store them all and could make use of the library system.  It's just very difficult to take our busy toddler there right now and I wanted to actually be accountable to someone and read what we had at home for a while.

So will you join us?

Don't worry about the details. (If you want to check out our first post here).  Just read, share, and enjoy.  My family is going to do our very best to read all our book. We are going to record what we've read and share some of our favourites with you.

I am still looking for guest posts if you are interested in sharing anything literature based with my readers. If you are interested in offering a giveaway please contact me too!

Oh I also have some great tips from some of my FB friends to share with you...

  • One family has done this type of challenge personally before by taking all the books and putting them in a pile and then after reading each one either putting it on the keep shelf or the donate box.

  • Another family passes on some of their books after they have read them.

  • Oh another great idea I saw was that one of my friends (with a huge and amazing library) labels the shelves so books are easier to locate.
Do you have any awesome suggestions to share with us??
Be sure to join us on FB and share your ideas in the comments below.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Our recent adventures

Every day is an adventure with my boys!  They have so many projects and ideas in their minds.  They certainly keep me on my toes.

This new year I have personally been trying hard to make more intentional use of my time.  I'm focusing on priorities and really thinking are about where my priorities should lay.  Well because I am a woman of action this has been difficult for me.  I'm an "All or nothing" kind of gal.  I hate doing a half job of everything just to say I'm balanced.  So I'll be honest and let you know that I wrestled a lot with how to use my time and energy. I'm still daily having to remind myself of my thoughtful decisions.

Slowly I feel more present with the boys and I'm loving it! I know I was missing out of so much from worry and other distractions.

Here are some photos of what we've been up to recently.
Playing at the local nature centre

Wood working

Stacking wood


Writing a book

TJ's three motor vehicle

One of MJ's many Lego cities

Snow catepillar

MJ's Super Mario character drawings

Ice skating


Board games

Forrest play

Bringing home a tree

One apple up on top

crafts time

TJ's glow bug

I'd love for you to follow our adventures on Facebook and Google+ too.
Be sure to share what you have been up to in the comments below.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Book Challenge: Read What You've Got

Do you have books at home? How often do you read them?

Would you like to join our challenge to read what you've got??

Keep on reading to find out more...

Back story

I have a toddler so going to the library along with my other boys is becoming a challenge.  The little guy is curious and I love him, but the second I try to turn around he is pulling books off the shelves and running down the isles.  Needless to say we haven't been in the library for a few months!!

Recently while doing another major purge of our belongings, I paused at our bookshelves.  There were a few books that we really weren't going to read again, but the rest were pretty good books.  After nicely organizing them I realized we had our own little library right here.  Why not actually get to reading them more often.  Of course most of the books are down the hall from where our toddler plays so they get forgotten (out of sight, out of mind).

So an idea popped into my head.  Why not read every single book (okay mostly the children's books), we own.  Then we can talk about the books, decide which ones we like, and enjoy them more often.  My boys love the idea and I hope you will too.

How does it work?

Okay there are no set and hard rules. Each family can decide for themselves how many and which books they'd like to read. There is also no set time limit. The thing is that these are books you already have at home (not the library books).

For my family we are choosing to read all the children's fiction and non-fiction books we own and try to read the larger novels too.  We may skim through some of the non-fiction ones but will do our best there.

Personally I want to read the books on my shelf too, but I'm going to need some accountability for that one.

I figure it'll take us 2-3 months to read all the smaller books if we only read a few a day.  The large books will take much longer, so I'll be keeping this challenge going on a monthly basis.  Let's do a 30 Day challenge and I'll poll everyone at the end of the month to see if we should keep going.

We will be recording the books we read, along with our opinion.

If we do an activity related to a book we will post about that too.

Each week we will share with you what we have read.

How can you participate?

  • Decide to take on the challenge.  I will have an event set up on my FB page to help track the number of families participating.  You can also let us know you are joining us by commenting below. 

  • Record the books you read each day/week.  There are many great book logs.  We made our own here! 

  • Share with us what you have been reading either on my FB page, Google+ , or in the weekly posts.
  • If you have a family favourite, an activity, or something to share I'd love for you to write a guest post (you don't need to have a blog to write a post for us).
  • If you sell books, or have written a book, I'd love for you to guest post, offer a give a way or promote your book/business.  My family would also be happy to read your book and write a review for you. I'll be sharing in any groups and communities I can.
  • At the end of the challenge lets all have a huge celebration!!! Yup a book party.  Why not?! Maybe we can crack open some cookbooks too and have fun with that.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

So are you ready to read??? The great READ WHAT YOU'VE GOT CHALLENGE begins March 1.  

Help us spread the word....

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Banana Bread

I've been trying to make some healthier snack for the boys.  When I asked which types of muffins they liked banana came out as a definite favourite.  Next time I went grocery shopping I happened to see a whole bag of bananas on clearance.  So a few days ago was a banana baking day.

don't we all bake in our PJ's?

Rather than have us all do one recipe, or baking alone, I figured I'd try out something a little different. Each of us made our own batch of banana bread and the boys could make slight variations based on what we had in the cupboards.  They loved the ownership this brought!

So here is the basic recipe we used.  It is from "Company's Coming"

Banana Bread
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 cup Banana (about 3 medium ones) mashed
2 cups Flour
1tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Chopped Walnuts

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. Blend in mashed bananas.  In a second bowl stir flour with baking soda, baking powder, salt an nuts.  Add to banana mixture, siring only to moisten. Transfer to greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 F for about an hour.

TJ's banana bread

TJ's variation
Substitute 1/2 cup brown and 1/2 white sugar
Substitute 1 cup Spelt, 1/2 cup bread flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour
Add in 1Tbsp apple cider spices
Add 1tsp vanilla
Substitute 1 cup of a variety of chocolate chips for the nuts

You could really taste the brown sugar in this loaf.  Very tasty with all the chocolate too!

MJ's banana bread

MJ's variation
Substitute 1 cup bread flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup Spelt
Substitute 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup white sugar
Add in a few shakes of pumpkin pie spices and gingerbread spices
Add 1tsp vanilla
Substitute 1 cup of a variety of chocolate chips for the nuts

This loaf was lighter than the others.

Mommy's mini loafs

Mommy's version
Substitute 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup Spelt and 1/2 cup bread flour
Substitute 1/2 cup Brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar
Add 1tbsp cinnamon
Omit nuts

JJ had fun playing with al the ingredients with his own little bowl and spoon.

They all ended up tasting delicious.  It was really interested to note the subtle differences in taste.  I could totally taste the brown sugar in TJ's loaf after having some of MJ's.

Boy was I thankful to have my Norwex cloths around.  After our awesome baking fun there was lots of sticky goo all over the table and counters.  The netted dish cloth scooped it all up in a breeze and rinsed clean off the cloth!  Then I was freed up to do a through wash with my enviro cloth and just water.  baby JJ even helped me mop the floor.  Have I told you how much I love Norwex.  I feel so much safer knowing that we aren't using harsh chemicals to clean our home. If you want to learn more check out my FB page or ask to join my VIP group.

I'd love to hear some of your favourite recipes.  What are you baking this week?